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Anikka BurtonA terrible illness can test one’s mettle. And sometimes, it can spur a person to help others in the same predicament.

When Anikka Burton was first diagnosed with breast cancer at age 33, she says she felt reassured as her loved ones sent bouquet after bouquet of flowers to her home and hospital room, according to the Guardian. But while the flowers withered, Burton’s hospital stay lengthened and she found herself wishing for practical gifts that would warm her in the chilly cancer ward or pamper her after chemotherapy treatment.

Inspired by the experience, Burton launched her own business, Not Another Bunch of Flowers, selling functional gifts as alternatives to flowers for the loved ones of chemotherapy patients.

“Flowers are the easy go-to option for any get well gift. Now all the joy has been taken out of them because it’s a reminder of being really sick,” Burton told the newspaper.

Burton’s site features hand-picked gifts and packages with accompanying descriptions that explain how the items are useful. Her “Chemo Care Package” contains Queasy Drops, candies that quell the nausea caused by chemo treatments, and a Bold Beanie, a cozy hat to protect bare heads from the cold.

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In her biography on the site, Burton writes that she received many “foodie” gifts such as wine, cheese and chocolate, that she could not enjoy due to dietary restrictions. Instead, she suggests sending dairy-free food items or toiletries with all-natural ingredients to help patients feel fresh during their hospital stay. A portion of all profits from the items are donated to charities that support cancer patients.

Though Burton’s cancer is in remission she continues to battle the side effects caused by the aggressive medicines she took. She runs the site from her home in Lindfield, West Sussex, in England.

Here at The Story Exchange, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard of illnesses inspiring entrepreneurs’ businesses. Katie Niemeyer of Austin, Texas, created her high-performance sweatband company Handana after a rare skin disease left her eyes extra-sensitive to moisture. And Julie DeFruscio of New York launched Pump Wear Inc., a diabetes supplies store with fun designs for kids, after her daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 2 1/2.

What prompted you to launch your business? Share your startup story through our 1,000 Stories project

 

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